Made in Abyss Episode 7: Testing grounds

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The big reveal in this episode was pretty nice. I think it explains why everyone was so okay with letting Riko journey into the Abyss. They would have been aware that Ozen was Lyza’s mentor and that Riko is effectively dead already. I wasn’t sure what to make of Ozen before this episode, but I’m glad she’s here to prepare Riko and Reg for the Abyss.

I think this scene was my only real issue with the episode. This scene felt more like a forced cameo than an actual contribution. Habo’s ominous line about the vessel and Riko’s secret would have made more sense if it didn’t happen immediately before Ozen tells Riko everything.

I’m also curious about this idea that White Whistles are trump cards. Why exactly is it so dangerous to give away a White Whistle’s special abilities? Who are they being protected from? Jealous competitors?

I only have on question about the Curse-Repelling Vessel. Ozen states that Riko is half-correct about the curse-repelling part. Does that mean that the vessel actually blocks the other negative effects of the curse? Ozen’s description made it sound like it doesn’t do anything to defend against the curse other than reanimate the dead. I’m just curious.

Ozen’s secret was a bit of a disappointment for me. I don’t think it’s a problem because it makes sense with her personality, but I was expecting her condition to come from something more than self-experimentation. Maybe I was thinking about her the wrong way.

Also, it took me a second to realize that Reg “went limp” as Riko woke up because of the backlash from using his laser.

Meh…I guess this is only fair.

Made in Abyss Episode 6: What’s in the box?

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This episode ended up being a pretty fun. There was a decent amount going on despite being a bit less-focused on showing the Abyss. The world was developed a bit more with a tour from Marulk.

Ozen was also a pretty interesting introduction…she’s definitely got the creepy feel to her, but there’s clearly more to her than that if Lyza trusted her to carry Riko out of the Abyss. If I had to voice a complaint, it would probably be regarding the repeated scenes in the beginning of the episode, but that’s not a new one for me.

Riko’s vomiting incident in this episode was pretty interesting because of how prevalent it was despite being in the background. Ozen starts out by explaining that it’s a side effect of the curse and then makes an off-hand comment about Riko’s smell.

Usually, this would be the point where the joke dies, but it gets brought back when Riko hears about the bath in her room. At no point does she ever say anything like “I have to get rid of this smell”. She just jumps at the opportunity to clean herself up right when it is presented.

Reg also continues to be a fun contradiction too. He’s unnaturally frightened by the idea of a ghost, but he’s also the very reason that Riko has survived as long as she has.

While it might seem a bit mean to Riko, I didn’t mind watching Ozen take her down a peg. Riko’s rushing down to the abyss because of a pretty tenuous reason, so it’s nice that an adult finally calls her out on it. Though, it also makes me wonder why the other adults are not only okay with it but also unable to recognize Lyza’s handwriting. I mean…weren’t there notes in the journals that were brought back?

We got a bit of a fun cliffhanger at the end of the episode. I’m not sure whether I’m more interested in the box or the monster that Riko saw, but maybe we’re about to learn some cool secrets of the Abyss next week.

Made in Abyss Episode 5: New old powers

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Well, the Abyss still looks like a cool place despite the fact that this episode seemed to focus on the reality of the food chain in it. It’s a bit odd that Reg always seems so much more expressive and reacts more naturally than Riko does when he’s supposed to be the robot. When the episode focused in on his thoughts and doubts during his attempt to rescue Riko, he seemed very human. It’s really tough to believe that he’s really a robot.

The return of the laser ended up being pretty quick. It brings up certain questions about how effective it will really be, but at least it makes Riko’s survival in the Abyss a lot more believable. I’m guessing that the scene where Reg passes out from firing the laser is also meant to be a bit of a reversal. It’s probably meant to show that Riko can support Reg as well.

This week’s main monster probably looked the most reasonable out of the monsters that have been introduced so far in this series. At the very least, I didn’t notice anything crazy while watching the monster move. I don’t think I can say the same for the monkeys, though.

Anyway, next up is meeting Ozen. I’m sure it’ll be interesting since White Whistles have been subjects of great praise so far in this series. Given Habo’s warning, Ozen might be the contrast to that perception. I’m curious to see how that turns out.

I have a random question about this end card. Riko and Reg are always shown separately in the diagram despite being in the same spot every week. Will there ever be a point when they’re actually separated on this map?

Made in Abyss Episode 4: First day in the deep

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It felt like a lot of this episode was giving us a good look at the first layer (looked pretty nice too). Not a whole lot happened, but I liked how the episode messed with standard perceptions. We spend an entire episode worrying about how Riko and Reg will be able to escape the human cave raiders sent to bring them back. But when one appears, he acts as an ally who supports them on their way.

At the end, there’s this huge feeling of relief from Riko, but in reality, it’s more like the start of the danger. The whole episode basically frames around a simple idea, but reveals that it’s nothing compared to the true gravity of the situation. We also see this in the way Reg casually brings up that Leader saw through him.

While I’m on the subject of Habo, I want to go on record and say that it seems odd that he would support Riko. Sure, he would best understand what she’s trying to accomplish, but he would also best understand how daunting the task is. With the children, I could rationalize it by saying that kids don’t understand, but Habo can’t really use the same excuse.

Was I the only one who thought the jumping spider monster looked really strange? It was like there was some kind of weird blurring effect that I think I noticed in the bird near the end of the episode as well. Not only that, the actual jumping of the spider didn’t look like it was going as far as it was supposed to go.

Final question: what’s up with the compass? Is it supposed to be some kind of throwaway? I don’t understand how a compass that always points down is ever useful. It did get lost in the river in this episode, but I’m not convinced that it’s gone for good. It just feels like too much time has been devoted to it already. It has to be important, right?

Made in Abyss Episode 3: Jumping in

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This episode felt so strange because it seemed to be making me question so many of the assumptions I’m used to making in anime. Was everything up to this point really just a prologue? I’m having trouble believing that characters like Nat, Shiggy, and Leader are just left behind in favor of Riko’s grand journey. It’s not even a complaint. The atmosphere of the episode made it so difficult to believe the gravity of Riko’s decision to go down into the Abyss forever that I was expecting it to go awry.

I had to watch this scene with the map a second time just because it felt like there was so much information here. Not only does the scene give us more information about the Abyss, but it also talks a bit about how the information is obtained, focusing a lot on hearsay and “common sense” of the world.

The piece about the sixth layer in particular is pretty interesting. The term “last dive” actually has some weight behind it, meaning that there’s less mystery surrounding Riko’s mother’s “death”. Still, it really makes me ask why someone with a newborn child would volunteer for something like a “last dive”. The answer may be as simple as wanting to find a cure for Riko’s eyes.

For me, Kiyui seems like a big question in this episode. The fact that Reg points out a mysterious sickness in Kiyui seems like setup, which is really uncharacteristic of a goodbye scene. It feels like it’s supposed to be relevant in coming episodes. But how can it affect Riko’s journey?

Was I supposed to conclude that Leader left the box in Reg’s bag from this?

I guess this episode really did leave me with so many questions. Heck, was that scene with the skeleton in prayer supposed to be important? I’m looking forward to seeing what the journey will hold…and getting answers.

Made in Abyss Episode 2: Message from below

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This week’s episode was pretty good for introducing the world a bit more. As with last week’s episode, explanations are mostly woven into the events of the episode rather than stated through narration, like the play for introducing the different whistles. I’m personally a bit upset about the final scene in the episode, because it basically stated that Riko’s mother Lyza was still alive in the Abyss. Given the way the episode was structured, that was already strongly implied, so I wanted to be the one that said. It’s so unfair…

The explanation of the different layers in the Abyss was pretty interesting because it mostly made me wonder if the “curse” was actually a form of altitude sickness or the bends. As the episode continued to play out, I feel like it became more and more evident that the curse is more of a “mystical” curse that follows rules, rather than a more natural phenomenon. Riko’s personal condition seems to back this up and it might explain why Lyza has disappeared. She could be unable to return from the bottom of the Abyss because the curse would kill her.

Riko’s history was also pretty surprising. I was expecting her vision to be some kind of hidden strength (to be fair, it could still be), but it ended up being an artifact of her birth. In a way, it gives her something in common with Reg. They’re both theoretically born in the Abyss.

Even though it didn’t really make that much of an impact, Reg’s scenes in the beginning of the episode were still pretty funny. His expressions while Riko was explaining her analysis of his body were so entertaining that I had to watch the scene a second time to actually understand what Riko was saying.

I also didn’t expect to hear the word “penis” in this series, but what are you gonna do? I guess the first episode kinda hinted at it already.

This series is still entertaining. The setting seems pretty interesting and unfolds in natural ways. There’s also an air of mystery around it. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Made in Abyss First Impressions (1): We need to go deeper

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Phew, there was a lot of hype for this series leading to this first episode and I think I understand it now. This first episode was really fun to watch. I really liked how naturally the introduction of the world and the characters felt. Descriptions were mostly woven into conversation, except for the final narration to describe the Abyss and effectively “start” the show. When Riko, the main character, and Nat are introduced, they don’t really waste time with a formal introduction. It makes a lot of sense and makes it clear that they already know each other really well.

I also really appreciated the smaller scenes thrown in at places, like when the kids points that the director turned “one thing” into two things as she is lecturing them and when Reg coughs black smoke after Nat calls Riko out for feeding Reg hot coals. They felt like great additions to their respective scenes and made them overall more charming.

Visually, I thought the scenery in the episode looked really good. It made me really interested in the world that I was being shown. Though, there was one scene that looked a bit strange to me. When the manta ray monster is flying away from Riko in the background, its movement looked strangely choppy, which was a bit disappointing.

This episode also had a lot of great music, particularly the song playing when Riko and Nat are bring Reg back to the orphanage or the song that plays when Riko is showing Reg the Abyss. The only song I found strange was the one that played when Nat is attacked by the monster. It eventually sounds really dramatic, but the beginning of the song sounded far too whimsical for the danger that was being shown on screen.

When Riko mentioned that she should resuscitate Reg in this scene, I was prepared for a cheap romance initiation with mouth-to-mouth. However, she ends up realizing that Reg is a robot pretty quickly and the scene instead served as a decent introduction.

Anyway, this episode felt overall like a strong start for this series. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here. I’m always a sucker for series who show you things rather than telling you things, so I’m really interested to learn more.

Anime Review: Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans

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Phew…this series was a heck of a ride. As a quick summary, the story takes place in a world where Mars has been colonized by humanity. The main characters are what is known as Human Debris, child labor treated as lesser humans. These kids revolt against their “employers” and try to find their way in the world. The best description I’ve been able to come up with for this series is that it’s a Gundam show without all of the “frills” (if that makes sense). The mobile suits don’t have superpowers and the main characters aren’t really backed by some lofty ideals. They’re just kids thrust into a crazy world trying to find their place to call home.

Another part of the “no frills” idea is the lack of hesitation the show has with brutally murdering people. This can be a good or bad thing depending on what type of viewer you are. But the show will build some characters up as allies and then emotionally wrench them away, and it will also build other characters up as frustrating villains and cathartically gun them down without prejudice. So, all in all, a wholesome show, right? And while it’s true that they’re pretty much asking for it with an opening song literally called “RAISE YOUR FLAG”, the show could at least be a little less crazy with the death flags. Those things are everywhere…

Character-wise, I think the series has some strong ones, but runs into problems with managing the extended cast. This is especially true in the second season when characters like Hush and Julietta are introduced as characters with a lot of importance, but ultimately do nothing much to establish themselves. But like I said, there are still some really cool side characters that do pretty well, like Ride, Eugene, and Akihiro to name a few. While Mikazuki is the main character and is certainly impressive in battle, I think the fact that he’s designed as Orga’s “blunt weapon” hinders him overall.

In the music area, the show does really well. The opening songs in the show are very memorable and intense, which fit the tone of the show. The soundtrack is also very cool…it uses strings well to add the same kind of energy to the scenes in the show. Also, the first ending song makes for some really amazing lead-ins at the end of an episode. Overall I think the show was an enjoyable experience even if I think it tries too hard at times to force the emotional scenes to happen.

Overall Score: 7/10